Rebecca Skloot Cell Ethics Essay

1856 Words8 Pages
The issue of cell ethics poses a vast number of questions as to who retains rights of cells once they are removed from a person, and who may benefit financially from this. As she breaks apart sections and places scenes in her book, Rebecca Skloot develops the ironies that consume the world of cell research and the ethics that supposedly govern it. Through her writing, Skloot makes readily apparent the trouble created by this, citing John Moore’s case where he cannot win ownership of his cells because Henrietta did not vie for the rights of hers after her death displays the issues brought forth by it. In her novel, The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks, Skloot carefully breaks apart her chapters and juxtaposes scenes in such a way that she may…show more content…
Despite the progress in medicine, doctors from the early 20th century and later neglected the rights of their patients and simply focused on research. Carrels work with the Nazis and the Jewish doctors refusal to work with Southam as a result of the Nuremberg Trials serve to strengthen Skloot’s point. While some doctors sought to be ethical in their work and uphold the guidelines for cell ethics, as a whole the standards are not upheld. This too ties back to the stories of Mo and HeLa, where their cells were taken and used in these unethical manners that Skloot so detests, and they are woven together in such a way that each story lends a historical basis to the next. In her writing, Skloot provides the details of the lack of cell ethics present in early cell research and makes evident the lack of growth in that part of the field. Though there have since become guidelines, for much of the first half century of cell research all projects were riddled with a lack of ethical treatment of the patients and the exploitation of them and their cells. Despite the gripes of the patients, especially those whom are mentioned by Skloot, they are largely ignored in favor of the money making giant that is the cell growing
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